December 8th, 2011
05:31 PM ET

2 dead, including police officer, after Virginia Tech shooting incident

A Virginia Tech police officer was among two people killed Thursday on the school's campus, prompting a sweeping search and school-wide lockdown that lasted over four hours.

Around 4:30 p.m., the school in Blacksburg, Virginia, announced on its Twitter feed that "law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."

Police said the incident started shortly after noon, when the police officer made a traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall. During that stop, a person who wasn't involved in the traffic stop approached and shot the officer, authorities said.

After witnesses told police that the shooter fled toward a nearby parking lot, an investigating officer saw a "suspicious person" alive in that lot. When the officer circled back to approach the person - described as a white male - that person was dead of a gunshot wound, police said.

A Virginia state police spokesman said that police didn't shoot the second person, and he wouldn't say whether the person was a suspect, or whether investigators still are looking for a shooter. But he said investigators feel "confident we located the person," and that "you can kind of read between the lines."

The incident comes more than four years after a shooting spree in which a Virginia Tech student, 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui, shot dead 32 people on the campus before killing himself in April 2007.

The following are running updates on Thursday's incident:

[Updated 5:15 p.m. ET] The Virginia Tech police officer who was fatally shot during a traffic stop in a campus parking lot shortly after 12:15 p.m. was shot by someone who wasn't involved in the traffic stop, police said at a news conference. The shooter allegedly walked up to the officer's vehicle and opened fire, police said.

[Updated 5:11 p.m. ET] Describing the death of the second person, authorities at a news conference said a police officer investigating the slain officer's death saw a "suspicious person" alive in a campus parking lot, and when the officer circled back the approach that person - a white male - he was dead from a gunshot wound.

Police declined to say whether that person shot himself, but a Virginia State Police spokesman told reporters that police did not shoot him.

The state police spokesman wouldn't comment on whether the second deceased person had been the person who killed the police officer. He declined to say whether investigators still are looking for a shooter, but investigators feel "confident we located the person."

"You can kind of read between the lines," he said.

The school's website noted that a weapon had been discovered near the second person - described as an "unknown male subject who was found deceased in a parking lot near the Duck Pond."

The school has said there is no longer a threat on campus, and that people could resume normal activities on campus.

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[Updated 4:37 p.m. ET] A weapon was found at the location of the body of a second person killed on the campus, Virginia Tech says. That person, a male, was found in a parking lot, the school said.

[Updated 4:34 p.m. ET] Police have determined "there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place," Virginia Tech has said on its Twitter feed.

The posting told students and staff they could now "resume normal activities."

[Updated 3:48 p.m. ET] Several Virginia Tech administrators - including the head of campus police, Wendell Flinchum, and emergency management director Michael Mulhare - were in Washington Thursday at a federal court hearing on the 2007 shooting on the school's campus, U.S. Department of Education officials said, according to CNN's Sally Holland.

Flinchum and the school were criticized after that incident for not notifying students quickly enough that there was a danger on campus. The hearing was an appeal of the Department of Education's fine of $55,000 to Virginia Tech under the Clery Act, a federal law related to campus safety.

In April, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the case against Virginia Tech "Monday-morning quarterbacking at its very worst."

[Updated 3:45 p.m. ET] In a message on its website, the university knocked down what it called "unfounded" reports of additional gunshots reported heard since the original shooting, saying "there are no new substantiated reports of suspicious or criminal activity."

[Updated 3:07 p.m. ET] Students' final exams that were scheduled for Friday have been postponed, Virginia Tech said on its website. Friday would have been the first day of final exams for the semester.

"A decision regarding the final exam schedule will be made as soon as we have more information," the message said.

[Updated 2:46 p.m. ET] Tauhid Chappell, a student on campus, told CNN that he and other students were getting information through the school alert system, and through the web and radio.

Things felt "very quiet and still," he said. Classes for the semester ended Wednesday. Students were preparing Thursday for final exams.

[Updated 2:45 p.m. ET] A university spokesman says police have a description of a suspect and are searching “absolutely everywhere for the person who matches the description."

The campus is on lockdown, and people on campus are urged to "shelter in place," the spokesman said. The university is urging that no one visit campus, he said.

[Updated 2:10 p.m. ET] Six agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are at Virginia Tech to help with the response to Thursday's shooting, ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson said, according to CNN's Carol Cratty. Twenty additional agents are on standby, he added.

"The agents are very familiar with the campus and the buildings" because they have worked with Blacksburg police since the 2007 mass shooting on campus, Thomasson said.

[Updated 2:07 p.m. ET] The staff of the Collegiate Times newspaper has been evacuated from its offices in the Squires Student Center on the Virginia Tech campus, the paper's Twitter feed reports.

[Updated 1:56 p.m. ET] A Virginia Tech police officer has been shot and killed after making a traffic stop on the university's campus, Mark Owczarski, the university's director of news and information, said Thursday.

The suspect fled on foot toward another parking lot where a second person was also found dead, he said.

The shooter is still at large, he said.

[Updated 1:39 p.m. ET] Sirens were heard around the Virginia Tech campus Thursday, and rescue workers were trying to resuscitate a person who was on the ground, school employee Brian Walls told CNN. The school was on lockdown after shots were reported, and the school's website said a police officer was shot.

Follow the incident via the Twitter feed of the school's newspaper, the Collegiate Times. These reports have not been confirmed by CNN.

[Updated 1:16 p.m. ET] A police officer has been shot on or near the campus of Virginia Tech, the university's website says. A possible second victim is reported down in a parking lot and the suspect is at large, the website says.

Classes for the semester ended Wednesday. Students were preparing Thursday for final exams.

[Posted 1:01 p.m. ET] The campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg is on lockdown after a report of shots being fired on the campus.

The suspected shooter is described as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with a neon green brim and a maroon hoodie and carrying a backpack, according to the university's website.

Those on campus should seek shelter or stay where they are, the website says.

In April 2007, Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech student, shot dead 32 people on the campus before killing himself.

Are you on campus? Share your story, but please stay out of harm's way.

soundoff (1,084 Responses)
  1. s. timmons

    the suspect is a white male, wearing gray sweat pants and gray hat w/ neon green brim and maroon hoodie with backpack

    December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lneal1670

    that was wrong....but funny. I hope you r a Clemson fan!!! I am!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Osman

    My name is Jeff Osman from Murfreesboro, TN. I read this on facebook all i can say is he didn't out do the massacer of 2007.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      Better stay on Facebook. People who know you might actually see something meaningful in that odd comment.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sally

    VT needs to get it together. I would not feel safe sending my child there. People if your life sucks this bad take yourself out, why kill other innocent people??? Now someone's family has to experience the worst day of their life when they get the news that their loved one has been killed.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • cope

      why are you saying VT needs to get it together? I don't think VT had anything to do with causing this shooting.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vinny

      There is no need to blame VT like that.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      I thihk you are over reacting Sally. This was a routine traffic stop turned ugly that could have happened anywhere. If you want to make a general indictment of the Commonwealth of Virginia for providing too easy access to firearms, that's a legitimate gripe, and you may justifiably concerned that sending your child to school anywhere in VA is a risk. But I don't believe this is a VT thing at all.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bruce

    Ivan, get off the Internet and come back to bed. Be a good boy and give me another creamy bj.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Aaron

    It's sad that horrible tragedies like this are allowed to happen. In this great country, we should be able to defend ourselves in situations like these. Shame, shame, shame. I also live a on "guns free campus" and I worry that if anything like this ever happened here, I wouldn't be able to defend myself either.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Say there are a couple armed students, Jason and Ryan. Say that a shooting goes down a couple hundred yards away from Jason and Ryan (who are armed) and they hear the shots. Jason and Ryan are not together and do not see each other when the shooting happens and decide to play vigilante and draw their weapons then approach the area of the shooting. Ryan then rounds the corner and sees Jason with a gun and Jason then sees Ryan with a gun. They mistake each other for the shooter and open fire. Potentially killing or wounding each other and others around them. The gunman gets away......

      Point is that highly trained armed authorities should be the only ones dealing with these situations when at all possible. If people are to be allowed to carry they should be in the good physical and mental shape and have to undergo the best training regularly. Although many responsible people carry they are not responsible enough or trained enough to deal with most situations involving a gunman or gunmen.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer F

      That makes no sense, Aaron. The police officer had a gun, and I would assume was even wearing a vest, but he is still dead.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      "Although many responsible people carry they are not responsible enough or trained enough to deal with most situations involving a gunman or gunmen"
      This is where I ask you to provide evidence to back up that claim.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • terre08

      You are a very sick man

      December 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • newsflash

      The cop had a gun and is trained with and against firearms. That clearly is not always the answer. Yes, he was caught off guard. As would you most likely.

      My thoughts and prayers to the families and individuals affected by this.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nita

      Yeah. Let everyone carry a gun on your campus and see what happens.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nc

      Aaron – a police officer was shot first....well armed.....

      If somebody is running at you in a parking lot after having shot somebody with the shooter's GUN AT THE READY, you will not have the time to pull out your gun, load it, aim and take him down.

      It sounds good when you want to complain – but it wouldn't be practical. Unlike the shooter, you do not have the time to plan your reactions....and even more innocent people might die from your errant bullet (if you even get a shot off)

      December 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      @Nita: Challenge accepted.

      @Nc: Click over to youtube and search Travis Tomasie. I'll wait.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      @Moonshine7102- Easy. There is no evidence. That is my evidence. If there are going to be people allowed to carry in my community, workplace, or school we should have the right to know who they are, what they carry, and if they are qualified to handle a situation using their weapon to take down 1 or more people in public.

      In addition, common sense says that many gun owners aren't trained in tactical situations. I am a gun owner and I don't consider myself qualified to diffuse a situation. If I was able to get to my weapon and use it in defense I would but in a situation where a gunman is on the loose you would need to go on the offensive immediately and I do not trust regular citizens to handle themselves appropriately.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      @Jim: The lack of evidence is evidence? Logic fail. And exactly how do you square your desire to know when, where, and what I (a law-abiding citizen) am carrying with my right to privacy?

      "In addition, common sense says that many gun owners aren't trained in tactical situations."
      Is this another case of the lack of evidence being evidence?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Travis Tomasie is a professional shooter and is well trained. If he had the correct materials i would feel comfortable with him protecting someone. However the people who are able to get weapons today are far from Travis Tomasie.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      Travis' skills are indeed extreme. I do not believe that level of skill is necessary to defend oneself. Bear in mind, I have not in any way suggested that ordinary law-abiding citizens should go on the offensive.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Moonshine71020- If you are a law abiding citizen who is well armed and trained in tactical situations why would you be ashamed to let people know who you are? And its not a logic fail at all on my part. Am I supposed to just assume that Humpty Dumpty with a gun knows what to do with it? No I am not, I should have the right to know that the guy next to me carrying an instrument that can blow my head off is properly trained in all aspects of taking down another human being in quick order and cleanly.

      All you have to do to get a gun legally these days is to pretty much not have a criminal record and know the basics of the gun. An ape can figure out how to load and discharge a firearm.....I don't think that gun laws are too strict now days but i just disagree with people being allowed to carry at work or at schools unless they let people know they carry, what they carry, and can show that they are regularly trained to deal with a situation involving a gunman. That isn't too much to ask.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      It is too much to ask. Quite simply, you do not have any right to know anything about me unless you are my employer, the tax man, or my wife. We seem to have different ideas about what to expect from our fellow human beings. I am willing to assume you're an okay guy until I see something that tells me otherwise. You advocate that I prove myself to you before making such an assumption. What you are asking borders on prior restraint.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JC

    Actually, according to the FBI, by far, most crimes are not committed with guns. Most crimes are actually committed with bare hands. If you think about it for a second, you'll understand why this is true. Arguably the most common crime in the United States is domestic violence. Only very rarely does that involve a weapon other than bare hands, and the FBI has stated that unreported incidences of domestic violence likely exceed reported incidences.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Yes, victims of crimes committed with bare hands usually remain alive... guns? They're mostly dead... I'm not cursing. If all these "bare hands" crimes are committed with guns? Man... many murder prosecution, and police must be really...

      December 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      While that may be true of crimes in general. I'd like to see you compare how many murders are committed with bare hands vs. with guns. It's much too simple for someone to kill someone else with a gun without much effort. It should be much more difficult to obtain hand guns than it currently is.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeiron

      Of course most crimes don't involve guns, no kid who steals cigarettes is armed with a gun 😉
      Firearms accounted for 67.5% of all homicide victims in 2010, compared to 13.1% for knives etc., 13.6% unknown and 5.6% hands, fists, feet etc.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      And cancer kills more than 50 times more Americans than AIDS does... Does that mean we shouldn't try finding the cure for both?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ILoveVT

    This is the first time I've ever commented on a news article and I'm doing so because I'd like to address the many comments that, to me, are just shocking.  Many of you clearly don't know a thing about Virginia Tech.  Too many of the statements posted here are disgusting, distasteful, and incredibly ignorant.

    As a 2010 VT graduate who was a student on 4-16-07 (and knew two victims), I'd like to make a few things clear to those of you who mindlessly post:  Never in my life have I felt safer or happier than I did during my years at VT.  I know I speak for many when I say that.  It is the friendliest, happiest, and warmest community you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.  What happened in 2007 was indescribably horrible, but it could have happened anywhere.  Since then, any violence that occurs at Tech is immediately posted on national news because stations know the story will generate hype...While identical violence occurs simultaneously all over the country and yet it never leaves its local news.

    To whomever feels negatively about Virginia Tech without really knowing anything about it, I urge you to research how the Virginia Tech community handled 4-16-07.  The love, unity, and strength displayed by the students and faculty in the wake of the shootings was unparalleled, and THAT is the real VT.  "I don't care what your basketball or your football team does.  What you 25,000 students have been doing down there all week has proven that Virginia Tech is the greatest university in the nation," – Tom Ridge, a few days after 4-16-07.  

    So please, I know it's tough for a lot of people, but keep your thoughtless and ignorant comments to yourselves and perhaps even think before you comment.  Oh, and to that person who commented that it's Yankees leaving the rude comments?  I'm a Yankee...and a Hokie.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      who is going to read all that??

      December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • CSMinDC

      Because it happens to VaTech a lot. No other school has the number of murders that Tech has.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      This is such a lovely post by ILoveVT - and a reminder to all that violence is everywhere.

      One place today, another place the next.

      Why it seems so prevalent is topic for another discussion. There is something quite wrong with our society.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      Thank you Ilove VT. My son was also there during the 2007 tragedy. The thoughtless people commenting and making snide comments are ones to feel sorry for. VT is a very, very close family. That showed then and it will show now. We seem to forget that lives were lost here. Have some compassion for the families.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • NN

      BULL! It's a redneck school!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • HOKIE07

      @Me: I read the whole thing, and so should you, and anyone else who might care to hear the truth about Virginia Tech. I agree with @ILoveVT 100%, also being a student at Tech when the terrible tragedy on April 16th occured.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nc

      I feel sorry for VT-

      I LOVE VT – don't take these goofballs at heart. It doesn't take much brains or class to turn on a computer and type such pathetic nonsense.

      And to John – don't you think that there's a slight correlation with the hearing today and the shooting?

      The fact remains that yet another idiot has killed innocent people....the location doesn't really matter.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • toby

      Hey Tolstoy, hopefully this will be your last comment.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj7

      To not ask the question "why does it happen" would be irresponsible. It does happen more at Virginia Tech. I am aware of the prevalence of campus shootings and an inordinate number of campus shootings happen at Virginia Tech.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • hokieintheboat

      I am a Yankee and a proud Hokie as well!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • I_agree

      I wish I could upvote your comment. There was 2 shootings at a college campus a few miles from my home last year and it barely made the local paper. Big Media seems to hype anything that happens at VT because of the attention it gets due to the 07 shooting and it's a shame.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • TLE

      Thank you, ILOVEVT. I grew up there, my mom still lives there, and you said it so well. One of the most wonderful communities to grow up in. Hokie Nation is passionate about their community and school.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen (VT Mom)

      BRAVO!!!! My daughter is a senior at VT, and was in HS when the shooting occurred on 4-16. We did not know anyone personally who was lost, but do know people who were there and survived. VT is an AMAZING campus with truly OUTSTANDING students and faculty!! The way that they banded together after 4-16, and continue to stand together really speaks to the calibar of everyone associated with the campus! My daughter entered VT in the Fall of 2008 and LOVES it!! My husband and I had no issue with her wanting to attend, and felt totally comfotable after attending the freshman orientation there.

      There is NO REASON for all the insensitive remarks being made here – you people REALLY need to get a grip! I saw one comment that said the shooter should have "taken himself out"? SERIOUSLY?? How about maybe he should have reached out to somebody for help.....

      And just for the record, I am also a YANKEE and a VERY PROUD VT HOKIE MOM!!! <3

      Stay strong Hokies!! Love and prayers to you all!! <3

      December 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • HokieLove

      ILoveVT – your post just made my day. It has been so tough worrying about my friends still on campus (I graduated in the spring this year) and feeling for the 2 who have been taken, let alone the horrific comments people have been writing.

      I too love VT and agree with everything you said.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      IloveVT – you said it extremely well and I completely agree with you. All of you other inconsiderate idiots who are posting rude, crude and inappropriate things on this feed, grow up. You have no idea what it's like to be a Hokie or the pride and strength we have as a community. Have some respect for other people. We ARE Virginia Tech and we WILL prwevail. Praying for all of my fellow Hokies

      December 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      My Son was enrolled at NIU when those shootings took place. I agree, It can happen anywhere, anytime.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank

    I don't see how this is even possible. Aren't guns banned on campus now?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vinny

      Well I guess this shooter didn't respect the ban, Frank.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • realrickbennett

      Yeah, I know... murderes would certainly never disobey something like a gun ban.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ashley

    you are a sick individual...go get help NOW

    December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Reilly

    So when this first happened, it was just latest news on CNN and nothing more... but of course payroll tax hike being blocked is breaking news and more newsworhty?? Really CNN?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hank A.

    Ivan-Dude, you need to talk to someone. Every guy has a certain girl in mind that he would like to date. It just doesn't happen for everyone.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. alateos

    I thought after the last incident that Vtech would have increased security, perhaps by installing new cameras, hiring more officers... I guess regardless of what you do, ill-will will always find a way and that's unfortunate.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Read it

      Read the news. The suspect was actually stopped in a regular traffic stop by a cop. On campus. VT is the safest campus that I know.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. shawna

    Excuse me! I don't find any humor in this tragic situation. 2 people lost their lives. What the hell is wrong with some people?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cat-Cat

    @me, you are soooo right!

    December 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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